Fulfilling Koch’s Postulate

Fulfilling Koch’s Postulate by American Joan Schenkar, formed part of a double bill of her work (Cabin Fever was the other) shown at the Gate Theatre in 1984. It was produced by Signs of Life theatre company which I co-founded with director Paddi Taylor after she had successfully directed another Schenkar play called Signs of Life, in which I played a feminist Elephant Man. Fulfilling Koch’s Postulate follows the fortunes of the Victorian cook Typhoid Mary and Dr Koch, the discoverer of the typhoid carrier potential.

Joan Schenkar provided us with the lyrics to songs written for the original New York production of Fulfilling Koch’s Postulate and I decided I would compose my own music to them for London.
As you will see from the photo at the bottom of the page, the style of the play was very expressionist, so I took my musical inspiration from Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire… This is one of them.

Baked Soprano
Voice: Jessica Higgs
Piano: Timothy Higgs
Flute: Carol Brown

This can be made in advance,
It is good hot or very cold.
Pre heat oven to three two five.
Cream until light,
One half butter,
One quarter cup sugar,
Beat in five separate eggs.
One quarter cup smacked breadcrumbs,
One cup crushed pineapple,
Some grated lemon.
Whip until thick.
Then beat again, beat again, again!
Place in a baking dish,
Cover with a meringue,
Then bake it.
Bake it!
Bake it.

From just behind my eyes,
I see a cold empty space,
From which no light can ever come.
There is fork in my breast,
There is a knife in my side,
My stomach is all serving spoons.
This kitchen is the world.

jesspics 001

Actors: Alan Cowan, Gerard Bell, Barbara Watt, Jessica Higgs
Photo: Sheila Burnett

Venue: Gate Theatre
Date: 1984
Producer: Signs of Life

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